Initiative backers urge governor to use veto pen
Supporters of a citizens ethics-reform initiative contacted Gov. Gary Herbert Thursday, urging him to veto a signature-removal bill that could be used to undermine their petition drive.
Utahns for Ethical Government have until April 15 to get the necessary 95,000 valid voter signatures to get its measure on November's ballot.
Sen. Howard Stephenson's SB275 eliminates the need for regretful signers to get notorized statements to remove their names from petitions. It also gives opponents of UEG's initiative until May 15 to persuade people they signed in error.
"If the bill was NOT aimed squarely at the two citizens initiatives already under way, then why is it so important for the bill to have an expedited effective date?" UEG treasurer Vik Arnold said in an e-mail to the governor.
Dave Glissmeyer, an independent candidate hoping to unseat 2nd District Congressman Jim Matheson, wrote a similar message to Gov. Herbert.
"SB275 and the extended time it gives the incumbent legislators to put the screws to signers of both the UEG and Fairbourndaires petition is not a good example of representative government," Glissmeyer said. "I believe that YOU need to send a message back to the State Legisalature and inform them that it is in their best interest to listen to the voters that put them in their seat."
Herbert's spokeswoman Angie Welling said e-mails and phone calls had begun to pour in Thursday afternoon, overwhelmingly requesting a veto.
Stephenson's measure includes a clause that with two-thirds approval from both legislative chambers, it takes effect as soon as the governor signs or by April 1 without his signature --- or in the case of a veto, the date of a veto override.
Welling said that SB275 will not be fast-tracked through Herbert's office and that he has taken no position on it yet.